Sometimes you get a toothache where one tooth is painful or sensitive. This is often related to decay or a cavity. But other times, you might experience a more general phenomenon of aching or sore teeth. It can feel like your whole mouth hurts. If you’ve experienced mouth pain, you know it can impact your mental health and ability to complete daily tasks. Several conditions can cause this kind of pain–not all are related to oral health.
What Conditions Can Make My Teeth Hurt?
Here’s a look at some conditions that can cause ongoing tooth pain:
- Clenching and grinding: Daytime clenching and nighttime grinding put lots of pressure on your teeth and jaws. If clenching or grinding is an issue, your family dentist may recommend a custom mouth guard/night guard. You can also look into stress reduction techniques, including mindfulness strategies, medication, and therapy.
- TMJ Disorder: Temporomandibular Joint Disorder covers a range of facial pain issues related to your jaw joints. It can cause tenderness in the jaw, clicking and popping, headaches, and painful chewing. If you have TMJ, your family dentist can help with a custom mouth guard, medications, and recommendations for other techniques to relieve stress and jaw pain.
- Receding Gums expose your teeth’s nerves and dentin to irritants and can cause ongoing pain. If you have receding gums, talk with your family dentist about reversing gum recession in the early stages–or treating advanced gum recession with surgery. Catching receding gums early is one reason regular checkups with your family dentist are so important.
- Using whitening products or mouth rinses too frequently can make your teeth more sensitive and irritate your gums. Some products are better than others at protecting your enamel, so check with your family dentist for recommendations. It’s also a good idea to explore in-office whitening rather than DIY. In-office whitening is more effective and offers better protection for your gums.
- Consuming too many acidic foods and beverages can hurt your enamel. Some of the worst culprits include sodas (regular and diet), alcohol, and citrus fruits.
- Acid reflux or other conditions that cause frequent vomiting (including bulimia and alcoholism) put your teeth in contact with stomach acids that can damage tooth enamel.
- Trigeminal Neuralgia is a disorder that affects a crucial facial nerve. It often brings lower-intensity stabbing pain and can feel like a toothache. After ruling out other causes, your dentist may refer you to a doctor for further testing.
- Sinus infection: Did you know that pain in the upper back teeth is a common sinus infection symptom? Two major sinuses are located above the roots of your upper molars. So when your sinuses get inflamed, it can cause tooth pain. Your dentist will refer you to a doctor for treatment with antibiotics if he suspects a sinus infection.
- Similarly, an ear infection can also feel like a toothache. The ears, nose, and throat are all connected, so tooth or jaw pain can be a symptom of an earache. That’s why we sometimes see children rubbing their jaws when they have an ear infection.
- Migraines often cause intense pain behind the eyes. However, they can also cause ear, teeth, and jaw pain. As we learn more about the causes of migraines, doctors can now treat them with prescription medications and alternative therapies, including acupuncture and meditation.
What Should I Do If I Experience Tooth Pain?
If you experience tooth pain, call your family dentist. He’ll get the ball rolling with basic tests and x-rays and check for enamel weakness, gum health, and signs of clenching, grinding, or TMJ. If your dentist believes the root cause may be medical, he’ll work with your doctor to help you find answers–or help you find a physician if needed. Dr. Robert Hall of Hall Family Dentistry has served the Winchester community for decades, helping patients young and old find the root causes and best treatments for tooth pain. If your case requires additional medical attention, our strong contacts with the region’s medical community can help you find solutions to ease the pain.